Re: Certification

From:Lee & Peggy Wenk <> (by way of histonet)

This is Peggy Wenk. I teach both HT and HTL students.

The differences between the HT and the HTL exam are:

1. HTL have more troubleshooting and problem solving
questions - what went wrong, what would you do differently
next time, how could you save this slide when you goofed?

2. HTL have questions on management and education
methodology, while HT does not.

3. HTL have questions on immuno staining, while HT
does not.

4. HTL have questions on glycol methacrylate and
EM sectioning and staining, while HT does not.

5. HTL have more questions on chemistry of the
stains. HT does have some questions, just not
as many.

6. HTL have more questions about diseases. HT
does too, but not as many (what stain would you
use to stain for XXXX disease or YYY microorganism).

7. HTL have more questions on tissue identification.
HT does too, just not as many.

8. HTL will have questions on not as commonly used

9. HTL practical asks for larger pieces of tissue,
often at thinner sections, both of which is
harder to do than the small, thicker HT practical.

10. HTL practical asks for "trickier" stains -
more judgment involved, more checking with the
microscope, more areas for error.

I did a survey about 5 years ago. The top scorer
on the HT exams for the previous 10 cycles (5 years)
averaged 130-140 points higher than the highest
scorer on the HTL exam. And remember, at that time,
the majority of HT candidates were high school
diploma route with no biology or chemistry requirements,
while the HTL all had BA/BS degrees, with 20 credits
in biology and chemistry. I just repeated this again
for the last 5 years, and the results are nearly
the same.

This seemed to indicate to me that the HTL exam was
that much harder than the HT exam, since the top
HTL people scored on average 130 points lower than
the top HT candidate who didn't have the biology/
chemistry background.

No, you do NOT have to take the technician exam
before you take the technologist exam. So, there
are a couple of options, as I see it:

A. Study really hard in all areas, and take just
the HTL exam only. (Realize that only 50% of the
candidates will pass the HTL exam.)

B. Study hard in all areas, and take the HT exam,
to get the practice, get experience, and get some
sort of certification, and then study some more
and take the HTL exam.

(For the HT exam, 40% of candidates with the
high school diploma will pass, 60-65% of candidates
with the associate degree (or higher) will pass,
while 70-75% of the graduates from NAACLS-accredited
HT programs will pass.)

C. Study hard in all areas, and take the HT exam,
and then be satisfied with the HT certification and
never go for the HTL, since you never want to
take a certification exam again.

I've known people who have done all three. What
should you do? It depends upon:

- the number and types of procedures you have been
exposed to in the past and the future, to prepare
you for the exam.

- how much you are willing to study, how many books
you can get your hands on

- how much people at work are willing to help you.

- realizing that the exam is about techniques on
human tissue, how much help can you get looking at
human tissue and human stains

Hope this is of help.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Tracy Bergeron, wrote:
> Hi folks,
>      I am currently looking into getting certified in histology.  From what
> I have read on the NSH and ASCP websites I fall into the HTL category (have
> a B.S. and have been doing histo off and on for the past 6 yrs in vet diag.
> labs and now in industry).   But..  I was wondering from those of you who
> have taken these exams what are the major differences between the two.
> Would it be better to do the HT and then  go for the HTL?   According to
> the information I have it is not necessarily a stepwise process, what have
> peoples experiences been??
>      Also and suggested reading material, or input on the material the ASCP
> recommends  would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Tracy E. Bergeron
> Histologist
> Charles River Laboratories
> Wilmington, MA
> 978-658-6000
> x-1229

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